By Colin McGuire, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@McGMondays)
AEW Rampage (Episode 15)
Taped October 17, 2021 in Norfolk, Virginia at Chartway Arena
Aired November 19, 2021 on TNT
The commentary team of Excalibur, Taz, Ricky Starks and Chris Jericho checked in. Darby Allin’s music hit and he made his way to the ring. Allin was accompanied by Sting.
1. Darby Allin vs. Billy Gunn. Starks said if he was betting, he’d put his money on Gunn. The two locked up and Gunn placed Allin on the top turnbuckle before walking away. Gunn then swung Allin in circles. Gunn gave Allin the “suck it” gesture. Gunn asked for a test of strength. Allin responded by slapping Gunn before eventually being the victim of a wildly high back-body drop. Allin rolled to the outside.
Outside the ring, Gunn threw Allin around while the Gunn Club posed. Gunn threw Allin back into the ring and had a staredown with Sting. After getting back into the ring, Gunn stomped on Allin. Gunn rolled to the outside and pulled Allin out in front of Sting. Gunn threw Allin back in the ring and Allin went for his running splash through the ropes, but Gunn moved and Allin crashed to the ground. We then got our first PIP [c].
Back from the break, the two were inside the ring and Gunn placed Allin on the top turnbuckle again. Allin bit Gunn and Gunn fell to the mat. Allin then did a Coffin Drop onto the Gunn boys on the outside. Back in the ring, Gunn rag-dolled Allin some more. Allin eventually hit a stunner and a Code Red on Gunn before landing the Coffin Drop for not even a one-count. Allin then hit a second Coffin Drop and that was good enough for the win.
Darby Allin defeated Billy Gunn via pinfall in 8:36.
After the match, the Gunn boys attacked Allin, but Sting made the save. Gunn then attacked Sting and worked him over with punches. The Gunn Club left Allin and Sting laying. A video recapping the CM Punk/MJF angle aired. Tony Schiovane interviewed QT Marshall backstage and Marshall said he was going to beat up CM Punk in his hometown. Marshall wondered if Punk was worried that Marshall would embarrass him. The show then cut to break.
McGuire’s Musings: The match was good and exactly what it needed to be, with Gunn playing the powerhouse and Allin playing the plucky babyface, which he does better than anyone else in AEW (and AEW has a lot of good ones). What confuses me, though, is that this apparently isn’t the end of the program. I sort of thought this was just going to serve as a get-right win for Allin after losing to MJF, but I guess we’re getting more from these five. On one hand, good for the Gunn Club, because I can’t recall them ever really getting any significant TV time. On the other … maybe Darby deserves more?
Back from the break, an Inner Circle video aired. Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page countered with a backstage promo of their own, saying the feud isn’t over. Page said he was proud of Dan Lambert for never giving up in their street fight at Full Gear. Jade Cargill then made her entrance for the next match.
2. Jade Cagrill vs. Red Velvet in a TBS Championship tournament match. The two stared each other down and brawled to start the match and my God, Cargill towered over Velvet. Cargill threw Velvet into a corner, but Velvet fought back. Cargill went for a boot, but Velvet ducked. Cargill picked up Velvet for a handful of clunky seconds, but Cargill caught Velvet again and hit a fallaway slam.
Cargill kicked Velvet, who was on the canvas. Cargill slammed Velvet again and posed. Cargill picked Velvet up, but Velvet fought back and ran Cargill into the ropes before hitting a leg lariat, which took Cargill outside. Velvet went for a dive through the ropes, but Cargill responded with a slap that stopped everything. On the apron, Cargill slammed Velvet. Excalibur threw to break. [c]
Back from the break, Cargill was stomping on Velvet, who was in a corner. Cargill rag-dolled Velvet and did some push-ups in the middle of the ring. Velvet eventually hit some elbows and a boot before catching Cargill with a pair of take-downs. Velvet hit a version of a bulldog. After a little offense, Cargill hit a pump-kick to retake control.
Cargill went for her finisher, but Velvet countered into a pinfall for a super-close near-fall. Velvet hit a spear for a two-count. Velvet went for the Final Slice, but Cargill countered and hit Jaded for the win while posing on top of Velvet.
Jade Cargill defeated Red Velvet via pinfall in 9:47 to advance in the TBS Women’s Championship Tournament.
After the match, Thunder Rosa cut a promo backstage, saying she will beat Jamie Hayter in the quarterfinals of the TBS title tournament. Rosa had language that was bleeped. The commentary team then ran down the upcoming Dynamite card. They then cut to an interview with CM Punk backstage. Punk said CM Punk in Chicago is high stakes. Punk said he’s lost big in Chicago, but he’s also won big in Chicago. Punk told Marshall to bring his bad attitude to Chicago the day before Thanksgiving and they’d find out who the turkey is.
Excalibur threw to the split-screen bit with Mark Henry. Adam Cole said Jungle Boy tried to end their careers at Full Gear. Henry asked the babyfaces if they were worried about interference. Jungle Boy said they weren’t worried. Christian Cage chimed in and said they beat the living shit out of the heels at Full Gear. Christian said he was going to bring a chair to the ring. Mark Henry said it was time for the main event.
McGuire’s Musings: This was tough at times and with the outcome being expected, I was really rooting for these two to steal the show. I’m not quite sure they accomplished that. Cargill is still very green and Velvet deserves a load of credit for effort, but there’s just something about her act that feels flat. This was supposed to have blood-feud heat and the actual match itself just didn’t deliver it, even though both women showed good fire. I continue to wonder when Cargill will take her first loss and that’s coupled with a worry that she ends up winning this entire tournament. Not that she doesn’t show great potential, because she does, but I’m just not sure she’s ready for a belt. Unrelated: It’s beyond time to pull the plug on the main event Mark Henry interview segment. Beyond. Time.
3. Adam Cole and Bobby Fish vs. Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus. Both teams came out alone. The match began with Jungle Boy and Adam Cole. Jungle Boy got the best of the initial lock up, but Cole fought back with elbows and kicks. Jungle Boy eventually hit a loud chop and an arm-drag, but Cole responded with a kick to the face and a series of punches. Fish then tagged in.
Fish worked over Jungle Boy and flipped Luchasaurus off. Jungle Boy hit the same arm-drag on Fish and a chop before tagging in Luchasaurus, who landed a chop of his own on Fish. Luchasaurus tagged Jungle Boy in before long and Jungle Boy landed his delayed Senton for a one-count. Jungle Boy hit the ropes, but Cole kicked him to stop momentum. Fish then came back with a kick before the final PIP began [c].
Back from break, Fish was working over Jungle Boy, but Jungle Boy landed a lariat that stunned Fish. Fish got to Cole for the tag and Cole thwarted the initial hot tag attempt, but Luchasaurus ultimately received it and came into the ring to clean house. Luchasaurus hit a double-clothesline on Fish and Cole before posing. Luchasaurus went for a double-choke-slam, but Cole and Fish worked their ways out. That said, Luchasaurus tagged in Jungle Boy and the two hit a series of moves before gaining a close near-fall on Cole.
Fish ran in and Jungle Boy chopped him. Fish and Cole kicked Luchasaurus before going for a combination brainbuster-type thing on Jungle Boy. Fish then flipped onto Luchasaurus, who was on the outside. Cole went for The Boom, but Jungle Boy countered and the two hit each other with the same strikes at the same time before trading kicks. Jungle Boy got to the apron and jumped back in, but Cole responded with a super-kick.
Cole went to the middle rope for the Panama Sunrise, but Luchasaurus ran into help counter. Jungle Boy hit an elbow to the back of Cole’s head and went for a pin, but Fish broke it up. Fish rolled Cole to the corner and tagged himself in. Fish hit a running knee and a series of other knees. Fish landed a dragon-screw leg-whip. Fish ran at Jungle Boy and Jungle Boy hit a belly-to-belly suplex on Fish into the turnbuckle.
The Young Bucks walked out. Jungle Boy stared at them while Luchasaurus confronted them in the aisle. Christian Cage ran out with his chair and chased the Bucks and Cole away. With Cole up the ramp with the Bucks, Jungle Boy sunk in the Snare Trap on Fish and Fish tapped.
Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus defeated Adam Cole and Bobby Fish via pinfall in 15:27.
A replay aired while the babyfaces celebrated in the ring to end the show.
McGuire’s Musings: This isn’t the first time Cole left his old friend Bobby Fish out to dry and you can color me intrigued to see what they do with that. It’s clearly building to something, so for all of us who keep secretly fantasy booking the Undisputed Era feuding with the Elite in AEW … well, that can’t happen if Fish and Cole are on opposite sides of the page. But enough of that. The match was good and a worthy main event. I do think this program has overstayed its welcome, but it continues to produce good matches, so it’s hard to complain too much. At this point, I’d settle for an Adam Cole vs. Jungle Boy match to end it once and for all and have that be that. Maybe someday.
This was a good episode of Rampage. If anything, let’s say middle of the road. It’s tough to settle into a Darby Allin/Gunn Club feud when Allin is coming off working with CM Punk and MJF, but what do I know? The women’s match had some rough moments and that main event probably could have shaved off three or four minutes and it still could have told the story they wanted to tell. So it goes. I’ll be by soon with my weekly Rampage audio review, which is available exclusively for Dot Net Members.